A Local Gem: Dom Gattermayr’s Melbourne Apartment

Photography by Rubin Utama

Stepping into Florian & Juniper co-founder & chef, Dom Gattermayr’s Carlton North apartment you realise the beloved eateries could be an extension of her living room – they even share the same artwork. With a storied career, including a spell working in PR for New York’s MoMA gallery, Dom couldn’t deny her hospitality heritage and, fortunately for us, the result is two of Melbourne’s most cherished neighbourhood restaurants. If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting, Dom has graciously shared her recipe for a belly-warming ham hock soup and some insight into her sunny home (and personality). Take it from us; both will leave you wanting more…

On Dom’s home and what she loves about the space…

“I live in a 2 bedroom apartment in Carlton North, with my partner Alex and our cat Mooni. The apartment is owned by my sister and her husband who are currently living overseas, so we are leasing the apartment for the time they are away. We’ve lived here for nearly a year now.

“Before moving overseas, they renovated the kitchen and bathroom and ripped up all the carpet and put down floor boards. We are really lucky to live in a newly renovated space that feels bright and looked after. The apartment has lots of windows that look out onto trees, and let’s a lot of light in so it never feels dark or enclosed.  We have a small balcony off from the living space that looks out onto a big tree that houses lots of rosellas. Mooni [Dom's British shorthair cat] loves to perch on the balcony and we have a small herb garden that is a nice addition.” 

Dom curls up with a book on our 100% Linen White Sheet Set

On the bedroom…

The bedroom consists mostly of our bed. We recently got a king bed frame, hand made by a friend who makes simple design bases, using nice wood. We tried to keep the bedroom pretty simple and mostly just for resting and sleeping… I recently bought a second Artemide lamp so we have a bit of symmetry, which I think has tied the room together well. We read lots so a bookshelf was important and then because I collect lots of antiques there are a few scattered through. I bought a vase when we went to Istanbul a couple of years ago and that’s probably my favourite piece on the bookshelf, while Alex’s Tin Tin collection is probably his. 

“I love the woven Ikat hanging behind our bed. I found it at an antiques market and the man selling said he had bought it when he was living in Indonesia, but he no longer had the wall space for it. I was looking for something to go behind the bed and wanted something textural that would warm up the room, not a heavy painting… I think I find it unsettling sleeping below something heavy hanging from the wall. The Ikat is from Sumba, where I have travelled before with my family, so I was pleased to find something that I could connect with and fit what I was wanting for the room.” 

On her favourite artefacts…

The stuffed sausage man hanging in my kitchen is particularly special to me. My parents have a collection of these and it really reminds me of my mum. She has a very good sense of humour and also taught me a lot of what I know today in the kitchen, so it’s a nice reminder that the kitchen is a place to enjoy and laugh, and looking at the smiling sausage kind of reminds me that if things are getting tense. 

“Alex bought me a shell lamp for my birthday last year that we found when I dragged him antique shopping in Newtown, Sydney, I love shells so it was hard for me to walk away from. I think Alex has come to like it too.”

It’s a nice reminder that the kitchen is a place to enjoy and laugh.

“My friends gave me an Enzo Mari bright yellow Le Creseut pot for my birthday one year too, and I use it all the time. It’s a big pot and it’s perfect for so many things. I actually used it to cook the soup from the recipe below. 

“I would have to also say the Henning Kjaernulf dining chairs. We eat dinner at home a lot so these chairs get a fair workout. I love the wishbone armrest and wood carved backrest. They are so comfortable and something I saved and had my eye on for a while so they feel very special.”

Our white linen flat sheet diffuses the morning light in Dom's cosy space

On how Dom’s personal style differs from her restaurants…

“A lot of it is quite similar come to think about it. Mostly because we didn’t have a lot of money to begin with opening our shops so all of the artwork was taken from me and my business partner Rose’s respective houses. Florian and Juniper are quite homey and warm and this is something I definitely aim for at home too.”

Florian and Juniper are quite homey and warm and this is something I definitely aim for at home too.

 What her day-to-day looks like, and how she came to be a chef…

“I grew up in a hospitality family. My mum is a chef and my dad is front-of-house, and some of my first memories are of living in an apartment above their first cafe in South Melbourne. From there, they have owned multiple venues across Melbourne that formed my whole life. After high school I studied media communications and worked in PR for 3 years before a stint in New York City that made me realise the PR grind wasn’t for me.

“I worked for my mum at her bakery Austro for 2 years when I got back to Melbourne, planning to figure out my next step, but I was pleasantly surprised to realise there wasn’t a next step and this was it. I was learning so much and even though hospitality is challenging it’s what drives me. During the COVID pandemic the shop where Florian is on Rathdowne St came up for lease, and Rose and I quickly formed a business plan that got Florian up and running. It’s quite insane to think 3 years later it is where it is. I couldn’t imagine another life where we didn’t have Florian.” 

I couldn’t imagine another life where we didn’t have Florian.

Dom embraces a warm combination of our 100% Linen Cocoa Pillowslips & White Duvet Set

On the special projects Dom is most proud of…

“Our guest chef series at Florian that we worked on last year was definitely a highlight. Getting the opportunity to work with different chefs and invite them into our space to run an evening has introduced us to so many people and taught us all so much. When you cook the same thing, or similar things on a menu, it can be limiting, so to have chefs from different backgrounds, with varying experiences meant we could all learn from them in some way. It was really hard work but extremely rewarding.”

On what life looks life outside of work…

“I love going out for a solo breakfast or lunch. This always feels very special to be able to get time alone and just do something nice that I want to do, particularly enjoying a nice meal.  I do also love pilates and yoga so will always try and work that in outside of work. Aside from that, a day off normally means going to the market and cooking something to eat at home with friends or family! Our place is small but it does feel nice to have people over and you do feel very together, especially if I’m in the kitchen, I don't miss anything.”

On what drew Dom to the area…

“Being close to work is definitely a bonus but I also think Carlton North is such a nice community. Rathdowne village feels very familiar. I love being able to walk to a green grocer, a cinema, a butcher and a park all in under 10 minutes. It feels like the perfect location really. There is a farmers market at the local primary school every Saturday and you can walk down the street and see familiar faces. I like the sense of community we have.”

I love being able to walk to a green grocer, a cinema, a butcher and a park all in under 10 minutes. It feels like the perfect location really.

“I have a membership to the Carlton Baths and love going for a swim and to lie on the grass in summer. Sushi Ten on Rathdowne st is an institution that is great for a weeknight meal. Bar Bellamy and Gerald’s Bar are only a few minutes walk from my house so they are go-to spots for a drink.  I go to the Cinema Nova a lot, and sometimes if I’m down the other end of Lygon St I’ll have dinner at The Lincoln or go across the road to Torrisong. Psarakos Market in Northcote/Thornbury is a great place for food shopping, I try to go there as much as possible for bigger shops.” 

On what 2024 will bring…

“This year I have lots of travel plans that I’m very excited about! I’m heading to Sri Lanka in April and then over to Europe to see family in Austria in September, as well as doing a cooking residency in Sicily. I’m most looking forward to getting inspired by the food and art and seeing new things. I think this year is going to be a big year of learning and stepping out of my comfort zone and I’m really looking forward to that.” 

Dom's Recipe for Ham Hock & Grain Soup 


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 smoked ham hock 
  • 250g dried grains or legumes (I used barley but you could use lentils)
  • Handful of greens like Tuscan kale or chard 
  • 2 litres chicken stock

  • Method: 

    1. Using a heavy based pot, add some oil (I use a canola and extra virgin blend) and allow to heat before adding the carrots and onions. Sprinkle a little salt over the top and stir. 
    2. Cook for a few minutes until onions turn translucent. 
    3. Add the grains, the ham hock and the 2 litres of chicken stock. 
    4. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer and put the lid on. Let cook for 2-3 hours, until the ham is falling away easily from the bone. 
    5. Take off the heat, and add your greens. 
    6. Take the ham hock out and using 2 forks start to pull the meat away, discarding any skin and the bone. While I'm doing this, I close the lid on the pot and let the greens cook in the steam of the soup, which is no longer on the heat. 
    7. Add the ham back to the soup and stir, adding some salt and pepper to taste.
    8. Garnish with a touch of olive oil and some herbs, if you like.

    You should end up with a beautiful smokey soup, that is filling and nourishing for the beginning of the colder weather.




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